By KATIE BORKOWSKI
CARROLL – Two sisters have chosen to share their motherhood experiences and expertise through a blog titled Radical Motherhood: Finding joy at home.
Allison Schoonover and Emily Thams, bloggers and stay-at-home moms, wanted to bring about a more positive understanding to the word radical.
“There were a few different meanings of radical that we liked,” said Thams. “One of them being extreme.”
When Allison, a parishioner at St. Lawrence in Carroll, thinks of the word radical, what comes to mind are “radical feminist and radical religious groups, which are both negative.”
“The word radical, as far as motherhood goes, in today’s world means what we are saying – you should be at home,” said Allison. “You have given birth to these children, adopted these children or however they have come into your home. You are their only mom.”
She acknowledged someone could replace her in a job within a week, but “no one can replace you as your kid’s mom. That is kind of a radical thought in today’s world.”
To be or not to be
Emily, a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Denison, and her husband Todd have been married for 16 years and have three daughters – Sarah (12), Alyssa (13) and Haley (16). Todd owns Thams Agency in Denison.
Allison and her husband John are both on their second marriages. They have been married to each other for seven years. John works from home for a home warranty company in Carroll.
From her first marriage Allison has three children – Isaac (16), Simon (13) and Esme (10). John’s three adult children are Kristin (32), David (30) and Brittany (26). Together Allison and John have four children – Grace (6), Phil (5), Stephen (2) and Fisher (newborn).
Allison pointed out Emily wanted to stop teaching and be at home for her family.
“We blog because both of us have done the working mom thing and both of us have independently come to the conclusion that it doesn’t work,” said Allison. “We wanted to help people who were maybe thinking, ‘Oh, I would love to stay home, but I just can’t.’”
The sisters hoped to assist moms who didn’t think their family could afford to have one parent stay at home.
“We started looking at mommy blogs,” said Allison. “There are so many out there that are so negative and cynical. The theme (of those blogs) is surviving. You can survive motherhood, but it isn’t something that is going to be fulfilling. We wanted to be a different voice.”
The tag line for the blog, finding joy at home, Emily said is what they are both doing and want to share that with other women.
Allison and Emily started work on the blog in February by brainstorming and figuring out what they wanted on the blog.
“We didn’t post anything until May, because we wanted to have quite a bit of content already created when we launched the blog, so people would have something to go to,” Emily said. “We spent February to May building the website, writing, getting organized and coming up with a lot of ideas for future posts.”
The sisters came up with several different topics they wanted to address through the blog – children, faith, marriage, encouragement for stay-at-home moms, homeschooling, finances and divorced parents.
The goal is to have two posts per week on the blog with each sister writing one. Another part of the process is navigating social media to get the blog out there for people to see it.
“We really haven’t done a whole lot of promoting yet,” said Allison. “That is our next phase. We don’t have any ads to make money off it.”
Emily chimed in the main goal of the blog is not to make money, but to “have followers and have people reading it. We want to get the word out.”
Allison pointed out something she hears a lot is “I can’t afford it (staying at home). We could never live on one income.” She created a workbook for people living on one income, which is available on the website for readers to view and use.
“We have two posts on our blog about this (budgeting),” Allison added. “If we can live on one income, almost anyone can; however, you probably aren’t going to have the same lifestyle.”
“The first couple months we wanted to get the basics out there,” said Emily. “Why are we blogging? How do you be a stay-at-home mom? What is a stay-at-home mom?”
“People can come to our website and feel like there is useful information and not random posts on silly stuff,” said Allison. “So far, we have so many ideas. I feel like we could go on forever.”
The bloggers hope to offer webinars, e-books and continued support for mothers in the future. Radical Motherhood can also be found on Facebook and Pinterest. Read all about Radical Motherhood by Thams and Schoonover at radicalmotherhood.com.